Five years ago, We The Kings were soaring from the success of their 2007 self-titled debut and its well-written, infectiously catchy songs were making them a credible name at the top of the American pop-punk scene. Two uninspiring, yet still popular, albums later, the band are filling rooms full of teenage girls, ready to lap up whatever frontman Travis Clark has to offer them. We The Kings stopped off in London on their European tour to play some summery songs on a cold winter’s night, so we decided to join in.
Opening proceedings to a surprisingly small crowd, bearing in mind the queue outside, Cheshire’s Blitz Kids (***) are energetically out to prove that they’re worthy of the hype surrounding them at the moment. Smashing through most of the tracks from their latest mini-album, they finally get some reception from the crowd when the room fills in time to catch ‘Warrior’ and ‘Never Die’.
Next up, Natives (****) hit the stage to an almost full Scala room and immediately dive into ‘Big Plans’, sounding as tight as they ever have. Although ignoring their past as Not Advised, their new style seems to welcome fans both old and new with ‘This Island’ predictably getting the biggest sing a long, being the band’s only single to date while upcoming track ‘Stand For Something’ also does enough to whet the appetite for new material later this year.
The screaming of teenage girls becomes louder than the PA system. Surely this means that it’s time for main attraction, We The Kings (**), to grace the stage and play their last UK show of the tour before heading out to mainland Europe. The Florida group take no time at all delving into their hits and blast out fan favourites, ‘She Takes Me High’ and ‘Skyway Avenue’, straight away, with the pop-punk faithful lapping up every note. Travis Clark has this army in the palm of his hands and instructs them with as much passion and tenacity as Mickey Mouse as the sorcerer’s apprentice in Disney’s Fantasia.
The problem with We The Kings tonight (and any other night) is that they’re far too over the top and corny. We are led to believe by the band that this is one of the greatest nights of our lives and we will never forget it, when truthfully the on stage talking is extremely cringe worthy and best forgotten.
An acoustic interlude and cover versions of Swedish House Mafia and Jason Mraz fill the main set list before ending with their standard encore of Jimmy Eat World‘s hit ‘The Middle’ and defining single ‘Check Yes Juliet’ all feels too comfortable and routine for the band.
Written by Mike Heath